By Jason Snell
December 5, 2022 5:06 PM PT
My social media is in an Mac app, or it’s nowhere
My explorations with Mastodon have thus far been undertaken largely with the service’s web app. It’s fine, as far as things go. But it’s definitely lacking something.
As I’ve been exploring, I’ve been thinking of how I use social media services—and how the only service that I really connected with, Twitter, is the only one with a Mac client app. While most services only offer mobile apps—Facebook, Instagram, the list goes ever onward—I use my Mac all day, every day.
And for better or worse, Twitter has always been there for me because Twitter—or more precisely, Twitterrific—has always been an app in my Dock or a bird icon in my menu bar. The same has never been true of Facebook or Instagram or any other network that has shunted its desktop users into a web-browser window.
Those services are out of sight and out of mind when I’m using my Mac. Even in the days when I actually used Facebook, I only remembered to visit the Facebook website every day or so. The extra leap of having to open a browser window and then visit the site was a leap I rarely made.
Likewise, my use of private social apps like Slack and Discord is magnified by their availability on my Mac as discrete apps rather than bookmarks in Safari. I can launch them or quit them or hide them on their own, and they’re there in my Dock when I want them. If there was no Slack app, and I had to use the web to check my Slack communities, it would be the Facebook situation again. I’d pop in occasionally but not regularly, just as has been the case with Mastodon and me.
There’s something healthy about that. But if Mastodon gets enough community gravity to make me want to pay more attention, I’ll need an app. There are a lot of Mastodon client apps out there, and I’ve tried several of them, but none of them are really good enough or polished enough for me to use regularly. The truth is that modern Twitter clients have set the bar pretty high.
Tapbots is currently beta-testing a Mastodon client based on Tweetbot for iOS and Mac, and early buzz is that it’s very good. I don’t know if I’m going to commit to using Mastodon nearly as much as I used Twitter back in the day, but if I use it at all regularly, it will only be because someone wrote a Mac app that was good enough for me to embrace and put in my Dock.
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